The following status update was listed on Google’s Plus Business Page yesterday at 4:53 PM EST:
“When we launched Google+ over three years ago, we had a lot of restrictions on what name you could use on your profile. This helped create a community made up of real people, but it also excluded a number of people who wanted to be part of it without using their real names.
Over the years, as Google+ grew and its community became established, we steadily opened up this policy, from allowing +Page owners to use any name of their choosing to letting YouTube users bring their usernames into Google+. Today, we are taking the last step: there are no more restrictions on what name you can use.
We know you’ve been calling for this change for a while. We know that our names policy has been unclear, and this has led to some unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users. For this we apologize, and we hope that today’s change is a step toward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place that we want it to be. Thank you for expressing your opinions so passionately, and thanks for continuing to make Google+ the thoughtful community that it is.”
This is important for clients and agencies as it allows accounts of any name to be created. Like anything this can be subject to abuse, but it can be helpful in many ways. Here are some:
- Agencies can now create client business accounts without any problems (with the client’s authorized consent, of course).
- People with unique names don’t need to feel discriminated against. Case in point: not that long ago, none of the following three names, Barack Hussein Obama, were recognized as names befitting a citizen of the United States, Today it is, among many others.
- It allows Google to be clearer and more standardized with business practices.
- Finally, it gives Google a competitive edge over Facebook, which not only requires the usage of names they recognize, but also has a name change limit. By Google being more inclusive it encourages more users of the Google+ platform in an effort to potentially steer more people away from Facebook.
In general, I welcome this change and hope this will be a sign of many more good things to come.